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This is a press release, Gulf Press did not intervene in drafting or editing it, neither verified its contents
Remarks by head of NUSACC
12 November 2006
The following is the remarks given by David Hamod, President and CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, on Sunday, November 12, 2006
in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
"On behalf of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of
Commerce (NUSACC), I am very pleased to be with you
today in Bahrain. Our Chamber is honored to be
signing this Memorandum of Understanding -- the first
  
of its kind between the United States and the Arab
world -- and we look forward to working closely with
Bahrains FTA Implementation Committee in the months
ahead.

Before I begin my formal remarks, I would like to say
how proud I am to be part of the very distinguished
group that is with us today.

First, on the government side:

Ambassador William Monroe You have been a strong and
consistent supporter of our Chamber and our efforts to
promote the U.S.-Bahrain FTA, and we are very
grateful.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa You and your
team have been doing an outstanding job at the
Economic Development Board, and our Chamber is proud
to have the opportunity to work with you.

And next, on the private sector side:

Dr. Essam Fakhro NUSACC shares a long history of
close relations with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce
and Industry, and todays MOU signing is just the
latest chapter in our long-standing cooperative
efforts.

Khalid Al-Zayani Our Chamber was pleased to host
AmCham Bahrains first delegation to the United States
under your leadership, and we look forward to hosting
many more.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend
Bahrains leadership for its long-term vision and
steadfast commitment to this FTA. In particular,
special thanks is due to H.H. the Crown Prince, Sheikh
Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, whose visits to the
United States have helped Americans to gain a better
understanding of Bahrain -- an important friend and
ally.

* * *



In the United States, we say that good things come to
those who wait. It seems like we have been looking
forward to this day for a long time, but it was well
worth the wait.

But make no mistake: Todays event marks not an end,
but a beginning.

In signing this MOU, we are establishing a formal
framework that will allow our two entities to work
together to realize the full benefits of the FTA --
particularly for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
(SMEs).

Our government counterparts have done an excellent job
of creating this FTA. But now the governments are
passing the torch to the private sector, and it is
up to our respective business communities to carry the
torch forward.

Our Chamber stands ready to do its part.

As Americas longest serving organization dedicated to
U.S.-Arab commerce, NUSACC is widely regarded as the
voice of American business in the Arab world and the
premier portal to the United States for Arab
commercial enterprises.

We have offices in Washington DC, New York City,
Houston and Los Angeles. Our reach is nationwide, and
I think its safe to say that we know the Arab world
better than anyone else in America.

* * *

Trade between or two nations has increased during the
past year, and at least part of the credit goes to the
FTA. The American business community is aware that
Bahrain, in signing the FTA, is sending a signal that
it is looking to establish an even better business
environment for traders and investors.

Through September of this year, U.S. merchandise
exports to Bahrain totaled $358.3
million. U.S. merchandise imports from Bahrain during
the same period reached $478.2 million.

Comparatively, through the same nine-month period in
2005, U.S. exports to Bahrain reached $263.2 million,
while imports from Bahrain totaled $294.9 million.

In other words, in comparing these two periods,
Americas exports to Bahrain jumped more than 35
percent, and Bahrains exports to the United States
surged nearly 65 percent.

According to NUSACC's seasonally adjusted forecast,
bilateral U.S. - Bahrain
trade will surpass the $1 billion mark this year.
U.S. exports are on track to reach $470 million, while
U.S. imports from Bahrain are expected to reach $667
million.

We see these as very positive trends, and we expect
them to continue.

* * *

In the United States, we sometimes say that the
Business of Business is Business.

We need to stay focused on that message in the
aftermath of last weeks elections in the United
States. As far as the Bahrain U.S. FTA is
concerned, it makes no difference who controls the
White House and who controls the U.S. Congress. This
is an agreement between nations, not political
parties, and we should proceed full speed ahead.

>From my perspective, the more that we can focus on
business and steer clear of politics, the better.

* * *

Finally, on a cautionary note, let me say this:

This Memorandum of Understanding, like the FTA itself,
is what we make of it. The MOU and the FTA are
frameworks, or platforms.

They are vehicles designed to take us to a better
place. But these vehicles wont get us there if we
dont put in the effort to rev up the engine.

In other words, business doesnt happen all by itself.
It takes hard work, and the conditions for commerce
must be right.

With that in mind, we are hopeful that this MOU, like
the FTA, will serve as a catalyst to encourage
commercial growth between our two nations.

* * *

In the Arab world, we say (in Arabic): One hand
alone cannot clap.

Today, we are pleased and proud to join hands with our
colleagues at the FTA Implementation Committee. We
look forward to working with you -- hand in hand -- to
maximize the benefits of the Bahrain-U.S. Free Trade
Agreement.



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